VPNs and Informational Freedom

In my draft book “World After Capital” I have a section on the need for increased “Informational Freedom.” There I write:

By design, the Internet does not embody a concept of geographic regions. Most fundamentally, it constitutes a way to connect networks with one another (hence the name “Internet” or network between networks). Since the Internet works at global scale, it follows that any geographic restrictions that exist have been added in, often at great cost.

As well as:

The same additional equipment used by governments to re-impose geographic boundaries on the Internet is also used by ISPs to extract additional economic value from customers, in the process distorting knowledge access. These practices include paid prioritization and zero rating.

Virtual Private Networks (or VPNs) are a way for citizens to circumvent these artificial restrictions imposed by governments and by ISPs. That’s why it is dismaying to now a movement to ban VPNs around the world. China just got Apple to remove VPN apps from the Chinese App Store. And Russia is banning the use of VPNs altogether starting in November of this year.

If we want to preserve humanity’s ability to connect freely with each other, we need to respond in many different ways. Here are just some ideas that seem important 

  1. Political action to fight against bans on VPNs, making sure they remain legal in as many countries as possible  

  2. Making VPNs broadly available through easy to use applications that can find mass market adoption

  3. Supporting open phone operating systems, such as UBports, so people can easily run any software they want on their phones  

  4. Incentivized systems for providing global traffic routing on existing networks (stay tuned for something from Meshlabs)

  5. Incentivized systems for wireless mesh networking

By incentivized systems here I mean something akin to the blockchain where contributors (miners) can earn a crypto currency in return for providing infrastructure.

If you know of other projects / initiatives in these areas, I would love to learn about them.